As we observe World Youth Skills Day, let us focus on giving skills to the youths in every way possible. Skills can simply be defined as the ability and capacity to carry out an activity. They come from training, experience, talent(s) or practice.
Most emphasis is put on academic (theoretical) training while the other forms of giving skills are suppressed. For example, many schools focus on examinable subjects because they can quantify students’ ‘skills’ with marks and grades.
In addition to theoretical learning, there are also hands-on, practical ways to gain skills. The practical part of academic training is still a new emphasis for some schools, which still leaves a knowledge gap. Unfortunately, some students leave school with only theory and no practice/experience. The more practice one has, the more experienced or skilled one gets.
Skills in particular academic fields are acquired through internships and volunteering. When we teach computer literacy through our Maendeleo courses in schools, we first teach theory so that the students can understand computers and technology, but most of the time the students engage in practical learning while they try out new skills on the computer.
These Maendeleo pupils take a break from theoretical learning to practice drawing diagrams for their fellow classmates. Having the chance to show off their drawing and teaching skills is great for their confidence in the classroom.
Skills can also be developed by promoting one’s talent. Many schools and organizations promote youth skills such as sports, music, dance, and drama. These are great programs that can help boost creativity and talents in students!
Students at a local primary school are given the opportunity to dance and sing for a special occasion during the school day. Taking time away from theoretical learning can actually increase creativity, attention, and interest for students!
Many parents and schools take advantage of opportunities to enhance youth skills. For instance, during holidays parents can take their children to soccer academies so as to equip them with soccer basics which lays a foundation for good footballers. The same should be done for many other fields like music, cooking, and making crafts. A 12-year-old who can perfectly play a musical instrument will attract a lot interest and hence will succeed in life. A lot of people earn a leaving from skills such as crafts making, soap making, or tailoring.
Maendeleo Foundation contributes to skilling the youth so as to bridge the skills gap. Some of its skill-based programs include but are not limited to the following:
- ICT training packages for people of all ages
- Business and entrepreneurship training
- Work readiness training where youth are equipped with skills for writing CVs, application letters, interview skills, communication skills
We are happy to have the opportunity to enhance youth skills with our programs, and are excited to see that the need for youth skills is being recognized by more parents, teachers, and organizations every day!